Chafee vetoes bill on serving arrest warrants

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has vetoed a bill that would expand who is authorized to serve arrest warrants, saying it raises separation-of-power concerns.

Under current law, only sheriffs are authorized to serve writs of arrest. The legislation passed by the General Assembly would give court-licensed constables the power as well.

Chafee notes in a message to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello Thursday that there is a shortage of available sheriffs. But he says he vetoed the bill at the request of the state Supreme Court, which is reviewing whether it’s constitutional for judicial licensees to serve warrants. Constables are not law enforcement officers.

The bill was introduced by House Republican Leader Brian Newberry and co-sponsored by Mattiello.

The veto is Chafee’s first of the 2014 legislative session.

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